Is Distance Good for a Relationship?


You may be in a relationship feeling that you could do with some personal space. Alternatively, you may be thinking of starting a long-distance relationship or facing one with your existing partner. So, is distance good for your relationship?

Some distance in your relationship can be good. It allows you the time and space to focus on your passions and interests. However, too much distance can make it challenging to maintain a connection with your partner. An example of that is a long-distance relationship. 

When you are away from your romantic partner, you can spend your time doing what you like, your hobbies, going out, or spend more time with your friends and family. The distance can also help you to re-evaluate and reassess your relationship to see if it brings you fulfilment and if it’s going in the right direction.

In this article, we will see why some distance is good for a relationship. We will talk about the signs to recognise you need more space and how to talk about it with your partner.


How Does Distance Affect Your Relationship?

When you start a romantic relationship, you want to be together all the time. You want to share every moment and every new experience with your romantic partner.

But as time goes by, spending all the time with each other is not sustainable, because you will start sacrificing and compromising your interests for your partner. After a while, you will forget what is important for you.

It may seem that you are making an effort for your partner. But without personal fulfilment, you will lose the interest and excitement for life and forget who you are as a person. There is also a risk that you will build up resentment towards your partner without realising it. 

A lack of personal space when you live together with your partner can affect your relationship in several ways:

  • Increase frustration from not doing what is important for you
  • Possible resentment towards your partner
  • Abandoning or postponing some of your life goals and dreams
  • Feeling stuck 
  • Losing interest in the future and your life
  • Physical and emotionally fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate

On the other hand, too much distance may not be so good for your relationship. It is particularly true when you are away from your partner for prolonged periods.

When you are living together, you share a lot of experiences. But, when you live apart, you meet different people and do different things. With time, you may have little in common with your partner and may grow apart.

Suppose you have to be in a long-distance relationship for some time. In that case, you should try to maintain an emotional connection. As long as you have this connection, you will care for each other, enjoy sharing your thoughts and feelings and will be interested in each other’s life events.

Too much distance can result in:

  • Feeling alone
  • Being sexually frustrated
  • Uncertainty about your future and your relationship
  • Insecurity about your partner’s feelings
  • Doubt that your partner still loves and wants to be with you
  • Frequent insecurity and jealousy

To maintain a healthy relationship, you need to have a balance of distance and connection. A lack of space can make you lose interest in life and feel suffocated. Whereas too much distance can leave you feeling alone and disconnected from your partner. With time your feelings could change, and you may grow apart. 


Why Is It Good to Have Space in a Relationship?

Having some time and space for yourself can allow you to do things you love, but you can’t do at the moment because you are spending too much time with your partner.

When you are away from your partner, you can assess your relationship. You can either appreciate each other more or realise that this relationship isn’t working for you. Some couples stay together because of attachment, fear of being alone or out of habit. When you are away from each other, you can see your relationship more clearly for what it is.

If it is a dysfunctional and toxic relationship, you may realise you don’t want to come back to it. But when you have a loving relationship, you may only need a bit of extra space. In this case, you will be eager to get back together with a lot more love and appreciation for one another.

Space can also be useful in a relationship when you are getting on each other’s nerves and facing frequent problems, misunderstandings and arguments. The distance can give you some breathing room to assess your relationship and see if you want to continue with your relationship. 


Importance of Personal Space in a Relationship

Personal space is the physical space or environment that allows you to do what you want to do. This space is only for yourself without having to consider anyone else. Personal space enables you to focus on yourself and the things that are important for you.

Emotional space is the space in your mind where you can observe your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Once you are aware of your emotions, you can learn to handle them better.

So when you have a disagreement with your partner instead of having a heated argument with your partner, you can have some time apart to process your emotions. Once you have a clear head and are emotionally balanced, you can find a healthier way to resolve your problems. 

The right emotional space can give you clarity and focus and can help you see things differently. For example, if you are spending too much time with your partner, you are sharing your space physically and emotionally. With too many emotions, it can be hard to see the issue for what it is.

Some distance in your relationship can help you calm your emotions. It allows you the clarity to see the origin of your problems and the dynamic of your relationship. 

To create adequate emotional space, you need the right physical environment. The right physical and emotional space can help you connect with yourself and the things you like, need and want in your life.


How much Space Is Good in a Relationship?

A healthy amount of space in a relationship allows you to stay connected with your partner and pursue your passions and interests. 

What is a normal amount of space depends on several things:

  • How much time you spend together because of your work, study and lifestyle
  • How long you have been in this relationship
  • Your personal preferences
  • Your individual needs for personal space
  • Your personal development and what you want to do
  • How much time and space you need to pursue your goals and ambitions

When you are in a relationship, emotional and physical space are essential for a healthy relationship. 


What Is It Like to Be in a Long-Distance Relationship?

When couples live together, they may need some personal and emotional space now and then. For couples in a long-distance relationship, the problem is too much space.

On the one hand, long-distance couples get a lot of time to do what they want. On the other hand, they may find it challenging to maintain a physical and emotional connection. 

Two aspects stand out in a long-distance relationship and create the most problems: lack of physical intimacy and communication.

In a long-distance relationship, you cannot touch, kiss or hug to reassure your partner that you still love them. Without this reassurance, your partner doesn’t know how you feel about them. It’s only so much you can express with words.

Most of the communication in a long-distance relationship happens online; this makes it easy to misunderstand your partner and makes it challenging to fix problems when they arise. While distance can complicate your relationship, some issues might be related to the relationship itself.


Signs You Need Space from Your Partner.

When you are in a relationship, you spend a lot of time together. After some time, you get used to being together. You start taking each other for granted and lose appreciation for one another.

Here are some signs that you or your partner may need personal space space:

  • You feel annoyed when your partner asks you to do things together 
  • You think you are spending all your time with your partner.
  • You are not going out with your friends
  • You stop doing the things you enjoy 
  • You don’t do the things you like because you don’t have time, space or energy
  • You feel suffocated, restricted, or constrained
  • You are trying to please your partner and worry about things that are important for them 
  • You neglect things that are important for you, like your personal life goals and ambitions
  • You feel guilty for doing things without your partner
  • Your partner may not do anything interesting or exciting
  • Both of you are spending too much time at home
  • Your partner spends a lot of time with you and doesn’t have any personal goals or interests. 

So, how do you know if you need physical or emotional space? 

Signs You Need Extra Physical Space

  • You are spending all the time together
  • You don’t have time to do your own things
  • You don’t go out without friends and family without your partner

Signs You Need Emotional Space

  • You feel your partner is overly concerned with your wellbeing 
  • You feel like there is no space for your emotions
  • Your partner’s emotions invade your emotional space

How Do You Create Personal Space in a Relationship?

Once you pick up some signs that you need personal or emotional space is time to find a way to bring that space into your relationship. 

You can create some personal space in your relationship by:

  1. Talking to your partner to see if your relationship could benefit from having more space.
  2. Identifying whether you or your partner need personal or emotional space. 
  3. Making a plan of how you would like to use the extra space. 
  4. Finding a realistic way for you to get this extra space.

If you need emotional space, you could agree to have a few hours of quiet time every day. You can discuss your thoughts and feelings with your partner, so you both can express and find some emotional balance.

For personal space, you could agree to sleep in separate rooms or going to stay with family or friends for a few days. 

Depending on how much personal space you need, you could benefit just by going out with your friends and family without your partner. But, if you feel you need more space than that, then you can agree to stay in different rooms during the day or even sleeping in separate rooms for a while.

If you feel you need to have all the space for yourself, then one of you can consider going away to stay with family or on a short holiday. 


How to Give Personal Space in a Relationship?

Once you established that your relationship could benefit from having some extra space, here’s what you can do:

  1. You can agree with your partner on why do you need it
  2. How is it going to work 
  3. How long it will last

Sometimes you may feel OK with the way things are, and it’s your partner who needs extra personal space. You may perceive their need for additional space as not wanting to be with you.

If you have any doubts about your partner’s feelings and your relationship, have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

Approach their need for space with understanding and patience. You can also find ways in which you can benefit from a bit of distance in your relationship. 

If you are the one needing some space, it helps if you bring it up in the right way. If you say “I need space”. Your partner can interpret it as you not wanting to be with them and that they are doing something wrong. Instead, tell your partner how you feel and why you need to have some personal space. 

Reassure your partner that this is your personal need that has nothing to do with them or your relationship. It’s just that there are some things you would like to do or that you need some space to connect with yourself. 

As an example: you can say when I don’t have some space I feel suffocated, and I become cranky, I believe with some personal space I can relax and find some emotional balance that will make my company more enjoyable, which will contribute to a healthier relationship with fewer arguments and more understanding. 


Conclusion

Some distance in a relationship allows you time and space to focus on your life and on what’s important to you. You may also find that distance will give you a fresh perspective on your relationship. 

Having personal space for yourself and your partner is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy relationship. 

Everyone needs personal space. When a couple lives together, partners rarely have alone time to be with their thoughts and feelings. A long-distance relationship allows partners to reflect on their personal lives. At the same time, you risk losing the emotional connection because of the distance. 

Having some distance can help you see your relationship from a different perspective. You may discover something you haven’t seen before.

If you are struggling to figure out if you or your partner need space in your relationship, here are three steps to help you out:

  • Make a list of things you would like to have in your relationship, but you currently do not have the time and space for. 
  • Ask your partner to make a list of things they would like to have in your relationship, but they currently don’t have the time and space for. 
  • Separate the problems you consider are in your relationship and those that are caused by the physical or emotional distance.

Recognising the need for personal space may just save your relationship. 


If you are looking for a partner who shares your values and beliefs, take a look at this workbook; it will help you get clear on what you want from a relationship and who is your special someone:


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Frequently Asked Questions


Why does my partner want space?

Your partner may want space because they need some alone time or want to spend more time with their friends and family. If you have many arguments, they may want to have some peace and time to reflect on the relationship.  

Is it wrong to want space in a relationship?

Having personal space is an essential part of your life. You need space to develop as a person and pursue your dreams, goals and ambitions. Sacrificing your time and space for your partner will leave you feeling incomplete, nor will it contribute to a healthy relationship.

Why is personal space important?

When you are in a relationship, you want to spend a lot of time together. But after a while, this could mean that you and your partner may not get any personal space for yourselves. While it’s fun to spend time together, you also need some space for your passions and interests. It’s essential for your personal development regardless of whom you are in a relationship.

Can distance ruin relationships?

A lack of distance or too much distance can, in some cases ruin a relationship. When you live together, you need to have personal space. If you are in a long-distance relationship, you need a plan to make it work and a timeline for when you move in together.

Does distance affect love?

Distance affects couples in different ways. Some get obsessed about not being able to have sex and others enjoy having more time for themselves. When you live together, it’s easy to start taking each other for granted. In this case, distance can help you appreciate each other and can indeed increase your love for each other. The distance can show you how much you love each other.

How do you not grow apart in a long-distance relationship?

To avoid growing apart in a long-distance relationship, you should maintain an emotional connection, visit each other frequently and have a plan to move in together. While a lack of physical intimacy is a big problem, you can use effective communication to maintain emotional intimacy.

Does distance kill love?

The distance can show how much love there is in your relationship. After spending some time apart, you may find that you love each other and will appreciate being together. If your love isn’t that strong, being apart will reveal that. In this case, you will know that your relationship may have been based on habit, attachment or fear of being alone.

Can you fall in love, long-distance?

When you meet someone online, you create an idea of that person. You can then get to know them better and get a better idea of who they are. But until you meet in real life, this person will remain as an idea. You could fall in love with the idea of being with this person.

Does distance make the heart grow fonder?

If you are with somebody all day every day, a week apart can be a welcome change. But if you are seeing each other only on the weekends, skipping a weekend can seem like forever. It depends on how you are feeling about your personal space. Sometimes we want to share, and sometimes we want to be alone.

Can distance separate true love?

True love is when partners are connected physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When your relationship is healthy, and your bond is strong, you will find a way to make your long-distance relationship work.

Is distance a reason to break up?

Usually, distance isn’t a reason to break up as long as you can find a way to make it work and at some point, move in together. If you are facing a long-distance relationship, you should understand what it is and what it isn’t. Then you should discuss it together with your partner and decide if you are willing to try and make it work. You can break up anytime, so why make rushed decisions?


How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?

Alex Barinov

Hi, I’m Alex:) I am a relationship coach. My passions include understanding life, relationships and human behaviour. As a coach, I help couples resolve their conflicts and create a harmonious and loving relationship.

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